For those of you who don’t know Warren, he’s one of the most awesome, fun, and genuine people you’ll ever meet. I had the honor of being in one of his classes and working on a project with him, and although we didn’t hang out a ton we became good enough friends to add each other on Facebook (that’s all that counts, right?). Warren has HARASSED me a few times in the past months to write another blog post…for some reason that I don’t quite understand he must really enjoy my ramblings, or just likes harassing me. Anywho, a shout out to my man Warren for forcing me to set a deadline this weekend and write a blog post. I really do appreciate it, and writing is actually incredibly therapeutic for me, so thanks for bugging me to take the time (and have the courage) to get back into expressing my innermost thoughts after a nice, long vacation. Warren, are you single by the way? For any lady followers…he’s handsome, tall, smart, funny, and is a genuinely good guy, what more do you need?
Maybe I should turn my blog into a referral based dating site? Pay me $100 for a customized referral shout out and have the ladies (or men) swarm!
Ok, enough messing around, that’s much too much fun for me today.
What does one write about after taking a 6ish month break from blogging? Warren…how many seconds has it been since my last blog post? Lol kidding!
I suppose I should probably give a bit of an update on my life, maybe mention some lessons learned, what I’m working towards and what my deepest, most fascinating thoughts are right now?
I’m gonna write and roll with it. This is my blog and I’ll write what I want to.
Biggest news in my life since my last blog post:
1. I’m still dating my absolutely incredible girlfriend, Kara! For those who’ve known me a while you’ll know that this is my first successful relationship (and my only real one) lol. Friends who like to bug me will say that I couldn’t get a girl, I say that I was working on myself to get to the point where I could attract a Total 10 girl inside and out (which I have)…in truth it was a bit of both . A shout out to my woman! Happy 8 months of official dating as of 2 days ago…woo!
2. I attended an “awesome” event last November in Hawaii called “Awesomeness Fest”. As the name suggests, it was a festival for awesome people to grow even more awesome. One of the speakers there just happened to absolutely blow me away, and I had the good fortune to have an incredible conversation with him in the bar the following night where he mentored me for a good 45 minutes. Between this chat and his presentation I knew I had to do whatever I could to work for him and his team, so I offered to work for free for 3 months (being a new grad that was the best way I could think of to get my foot in the door). Fortunately for me they were kind enough to decline my offer, and bring me on with a salary instead! So, since the end of January this year I’ve been working for a very successful online company run by amazing people called The Elevation Group, learning direct marketing and contributing to our incredible vision of empowering the middle class by giving them access to the secrets of the rich (in more detail than Rich Dad, Poor Dad), and creating freedom through contribution. We also have the grandiose vision of revolutionizing the education system worldwide and spreading entrepreneurship around the world! I realized fully that day in Hawaii watching our CEO’s presentation that my mission in life, my contribution…was education. To teach, as well as improve the system, and it feels great to be working toward that goal and making a difference.
3. I have done a ton of reading and learning on the topics of investing, entrepreneurship, marketing, relationships, and personal development and as a result have grown a LOT. My paradigm has changed quite a bit, and I’m sure if I were to go back through some of my older posts (which I will) I would find a bunch of things I’ve improved on or changed views on entirely…but that’s just how life is. I wouldn’t be thinking what I am where I am now now if I didn’t think that then…that’s evolution, baby.
4. I’ve faced and overcome (or am currently working on) a bunch of challenges, including but not limited to:
- Learning about relationships and love, and gaining a much deeper understanding of myself and my emotions as well as what my woman needs (“woman” is our inside joke, like “make me a sandwich, woman!”…except without the derogation that statement implies). By the way, yes I am a 24 year old man talking about “gaining a much deeper understanding of myself and my emotions” and “learning about relationships and love”. The folks who truly believe this to be cheesy, lame, unnecessary, or un-manly will never have a meaningful and deep relationship or master themselves enough to achieve true success in life. Maintain your ego, closed-mindedness and insecurity at your own peril
- Challenges with friends adapting to me being in a relationship (and me adapting to balancing friends and a relationship) and spending less time with them as a result of spending more time with my girlfriend – I’ve really learned that when something new comes into our lives we have to make room for it from somewhere else, which can be tricky sometimes. It all comes down to what we value and we desire in our future, which is 100% individual
- Working from home on my computer, and maintaining personal and professional discipline as well as not getting too lonely – this has been an excellent opportunity to work on myself in a lot of ways
- Maintaining and growing a long distance relationship (she’s a 3 hour drive away)
- Learning and adapting to my work role and overcoming the challenges of taking on any new venture
Well, I’m tired of writing and want to go hit the gym so I better post this before I put it off. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m fantastic at starting new things with excitement, but it can be a challenge to finish them sometimes as I get distracted by the next exciting thing!
I quite enjoyed writing this so I’m going to make sure I continue and elaborate some more on my challenges and successes. Warren, how does another post by next Sunday at 11pm sound to you?
Peace, luh, and happiness to all.
After reading a good friend’s blog post about the need to persist and give your “all” in everything you do (which I agree with), I was reminded of the need for balance in life. With strengths, there are always opposing weaknesses, this is a fact of life. For people who are highly driven to succeed, like myself, there is always the danger of going to far, working too much, too hard, too long, and neglecting other aspects of our lives.
Personally, I think that one of the greatest challenges in life is to achieve balance. How do I balance time spent with my girlfriend, friends, family, and still have time to do my own thing and meditate, play sports or work on what I’m passionate about, while still going to work to pay the bills (ideally these last 2 items intersect). It’s certainly a challenge, and if I find myself drifting towards the “too much work not enough play/relationship/social time” end of the scale, I like to read this poem, it helps me “take it down a notch”. Enjoy.
Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask, “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say “Hi”?
You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift…. Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.
- David L. Weatherford
Tactical Steps to Get Up When You’re Feeling Down
Am I an expert on getting out of a slump? Nope. Have I researched how the best people do it, do I know how to do it, and have I done it before many times (since it’s rather easy to get into a slump, no matter how small, for most people), Yes. Therefore, here’s how I do it, see if you like it, and maybe take some of it and apply it to your life. Also, feel free to post comments below with your own tips .
Awareness – the first step, for me, is gaining the awareness that I’m not doing my best. This can come from a variety of sources, including people in my life telling me that I’m in the gutter (this is rare, most people aren’t blunt enough…but I love the people who are!). It can come from a moment of inspiration when you’re reading or watching something, or see someone on the street, or have an interaction with someone special and you think, “hey, I wanna be more like them”.
Alternatively, and this is how it happens a lot for me, is I get a kick in a butt from the universe with some good old fashioned pain when something doesn’t go my way, or someone hurts me in some way, or I simply decide I’ve had enough of some aspect of my life. Everyone has a breaking point where they can only put up with so much, and oftentimes that becomes our turning point as well. I try to look at all of these ways of gaining awareness with gratitude, for without awareness we would simply continue down our self-destructive paths without knowing that we’re digging ourselves even deeper into trouble.
Motivation – It’s all fine and dandy to have the awareness that something’s up in my life, but unless I have the motivation to take action and change it, I’m no better off. This is usually the tricky part; it’s the actual “how to” of how to get out of a slump, and it’s different for everyone. The key, I believe, is to get back to the basics, the fundamentals of what makes me happy. How many times have you heard, in whatever you’re doing, to just stick to the fundamentals? There’s a reason…so here’s the 5 ways how I do it:
a. Exercise and Diet – I know that regardless of how bad my perceived reality of my life is a solid workout and a day of healthy eating will completely turn around my perspective. Answers appear where things seemed bleak, and my body and mind appreciate the break from the mental stress.
b. Gratitude – I know how things can pile up and make life seem terrible sometimes, but in reality, nothing, or few things really, are as serious as we make them out to be. Thinking about all the things I’m grateful for: my health, great family and friends, amazing girlfriend, travelling experience, wisdom I’ve gained, education, accomplishments, all these are what are really important, they’re the things that make life worth living. That little thing that’s got me down really doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things .
c. Write Out Exactly What’s Going On and Push Myself – For me, writing is the easiest way to structure my thoughts and force my mind to work. Especially when things aren’t great, it’s easy to just let my mind run away with negative thoughts without ever finding solutions. Writing out what I’m afraid of, or what’s wrong in my life opens up the opportunity to work through the problems by asking myself the right questions. I state what’s going on (I feel like crap), then ask why, and then ask how I could fix that. The key is not being mentally lazy. You have to actually want to find a solution and be willing to ask yourself the tough questions, answer them honestly, and then take action.
d. Meditation – I know that far too many people out there aren’t open to meditation, but this is seriously my go-to technique for getting out of a slump, and I genuinely feel sorry for people who aren’t open to it…you’re seriously missing out. This caps off the process for me; by thinking about my problem and writing it out prior to a meditation I’m priming my subconscious to look for solutions. Then by meditating right afterwards, I’m allowing it to go to work with my conscious mind and feed me information. Ideas just “pop up”, and believe me, they’re the best kind of ideas , there’s all kinds of research to support it, and it works for me, so I believe in it.
e. Action – Of course, this wouldn’t be a “how to” without the actual “doing”, so I always set goals (written, of course) and make a plan using my awesome agenda to make sure I achieve them. One of the best ways I know to do this is to plan out my entire day the night before. Seriously, I plan out the entire day, with my highest priorities being accomplished first thing in the morning, and making sure I fit all of my fundamentals into a day.
This is a very long blog post, so thank you to everyone who has made it all the way through. There has never been a point in my life where either me or someone I know has been going through some degree of a slump, so I thought this was some valuable information to share.
Please feel free to comment below! Thanks for reading!
As I was writing out all the things I’m grateful for this morning, which is part of my morning routine, I came across a couple massive lessons. I was reflecting about how lucky I am to have met the girl of my dreams on a volunteer trip to Africa (of all places), and then have her randomly get a job only a few hours drive away from me and move there a week after returning home from Africa. Meant to be? I think so. Anyways, I was going over how I got to this point in my life and how little ol’ me became so fortunate to have had this happen.
I began making a list of these lessons, so that I could print out my lovely list and put on my wall for inspiration (another of my nerdy little habits), but I just kept going, and decided I might as well share it as well. Maybe someone will learn something from my list (lists are the greatest, by the way), and maybe someone has something so impactful to them that they would like to share their lesson with me
Ryan’s Recipe for Success:
- Authenticity – Be who I am and do what I want to do
- Integrity – Walk the talk. Know what I believe, and live it
- Patience – Solutions, teachers, and the “right outcomes” will appear when I’m ready for them
- Discipline – Stay strong, persist through the tough times and temptations
- Faith – Trust that I’m always in the right place at the right time, and that everything happens for a reason
- Accountability – I create my own reality. If I don’t like it, I have to change it
- Awareness – Be present. Pay attention to my thoughts and feelings, as well as people, events, and my surroundings
- Mental Fortitude – Don’t be mentally lazy and simply react to situations or people with anger etc. Take the next mental step, consider what my ultimate desired outcome is, and act to achieve that, even, and especially, if it hurts my ego. Ignore the nay-sayers (which, unfortunately, is too many people), and DO WHAT I NEED TO DO.
- Play – Don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive (Van Wilder)
- Make It Positive – With any given situation I am in, ask myself “how can I make this work to my advantage? What can I learn from this/how can I grow from this/how can I challenge myself here?”
Thoughts, friends? What am I missing here, for surely I am missing something .
So, after 4 glorious weeks in South Africa, Swaziland, and Mozambique, I have returned to good ol’ Canada. I figure there’s a bunch of people out there wanting an update and some stories, so consider this your update.
Weeks 1-2 – Environmental Conservation Project at Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, South Africa.
Our group of 21 strong spent an incredible 2 weeks on the beautiful Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, volunteering by collecting data which would be used to monitor the park and make decisions such as whether or not the reserve could support elephants. They currently have no lion or elephant on the reserve, and although they both draw a lot more tourist attention, too many elephants in one area can be quite damaging to the ecosystem since they will knock over and trample anything in their path. Therefore, we did bird counts and habitat assessments, which included collecting data about the density of grass, type and quantity of trees in the area etc. The work was simple but satisfying since once our team of 7 got the hang of it we flew through the work, singing songs and joking around and thoroughly enjoying the brisk mornings and nature in general.
Our group of 21 was split into 3 groups of 7, each with a super cool team name…you were a cheetah, lion, or leopard (although some inter-mingling did occur). Each day, 2 of the groups would head out into the field at about 6:30AM. Most mornings it was really cold and we huddled together with blankets and sweaters in the seats of the open topped safari vehicle. After about a 1 hour drive, with us singing at least half the way, we would arrive at our site for the day where we did our bird counts and habitat assessments for anywhere between 1-3 hours. Once we finished, we would do a game drive (drive slowly through the reserve looking for animals) for 30 min-1 hr, and then go for lunch at some of the most beautiful lookout points I’ve seen. We labeled my personal
favorite Pride Rock (after the Lion King, of course); it’s very satisfying enjoying a PB & J sandwich, cookies, chips, and juice (every single day, by the way) with a breathtaking view after accomplishing a bit of work.
After lunch we would typically either go for a hike or return to camp, where we could play tennis or just chill around the fire with the rest of the group. The third group, which did not go into the field that day, was in charge of cooking and cleaning up dinner. Some might think this was a painful task, but with the crew we had it was always an adventure, and some of my fondest memories are of joking around with everyone as we cooked. We would have to go collect firewood everyday and get the fire going early so that the coals could be used for cooking the meat outside on the grill. It would always be dark by the time food was prepared, so we would usually all sit around the fire and eat and socialize or play games the rest of the night. It was always a treat if your group was staying in the next day, because then you had to get up for 9 instead of 6:30, and could therefore stay up later around the fire.
Of everything we did, all the amazing people I met and sights I saw, I think this aspect of the trip was my favorite. There was no internet or cell phones or TV to distract us, so we had to entertain each other and it was glorious! I have never spent so much quality time with so many people in such a short span of time in my life, and honestly it felt like that was how life should be lived. I didn’t Facebook or email or text people to communicate, I went and found them and had a “real conversation” with them. There was a real sense of community, even family among us, and I think that’s a critical aspect of humanity that has been lost, to our detriment, by the advancement of technology. In business we always talk about how important the internet and social media are for “connecting” with people and growing our business around the world, and that’s very true. We acknowledge in school that this is a double edge sword in that it makes our relationships less personal, but never has this fact been as apparent to me as during those 2 weeks at Lapalala. I really felt like the structure of our days there was how humans were meant to live…in tight nit, sharing communities that are one with nature. I can feel everyone thinking “hippie” at this point of reading, and I suppose it was a bit like a hippie convent, but it was also like how people used to live a very long time ago in tribes, and I loved it. It’s funny to me now to say that we “connect” with others via social media and even texting, because sitting at my computer writing on friends’ Facebook walls or IM-ing sure as hell doesn’t feel like the same type of “connecting” I did with my friends at Lapalala. This is one of the major revelations I had inAfrica that is sure to impact significantly the rest of my life. Obviously there are advantages and disadvantages to using technology to communicate and gather information, so I suppose I’m going to work on clearly defining what type of role I want technology to play in my life. Clearly a synthesis of paradigms needs to occur in order for me to function in North America, so ill keep you updated on how that goes.
There is far too much for me to tell about Lapalala, so ill just highlight my favorite points.
- Playing tennis with Rick (my very good friend/roommate/co-worker/hockey wingman) and tying our matches 6-6, and not being surprised at all that we tied exactly when neither of us had played tennis before.
- Going without alchohol for 2 weeks (minus one absolutely insane night) with a bunch of like-minded 18-23 year olds, and having some of the best times of my life actually “connecting” with each person there.
- Hiking. I need to take this up asap. Bouncing off rocks, playing the lava game that everyone played as a kid, keeping our eyes out for black rhinos and leopards, spitting dried impala poop as far as we could (Rick won by a long shot), and of course seeing the sights of Africa.
- Meditating under the insanely bright and close stars on the tennis court with a few friends and our Guardian Ranger, Eddie, who braved the cold to ensure none of us got dragged up a tree by a leopard.
- Gathering firewood and painting our faces with the ash. Ridiculous, but insanely fun.
- Cooking and cleaning the kitchen and playing the “hot seat” game to entertain ourselves…and entertain we did.
- Sitting around the fire, playing games, telling stories.
- No distractions, only people, nature, and food!
- The general structure of our days! No stress, no technology, just work, play, socialize, eat, and learn.
- Throwing people in the pool, and all the shenanigans that resulted from it
- Our enlightening conservation lectures, the Lion King, and Rhys Darby in the freezing cold main room
That’s all for Lapalala, I want to give a shout out to our project leaders Elliot (I can’t believe how much you’ve done and how many places you’ve been) Smith, and Tribute (Birdie-sweetest, smartest, and most humble, passionate conservationist I know) Mboweni for taking such good care of us, teaching us so much, and putting up with all our “energy”.
Thanks to Samir Randera-Rees and Eddie John Sales for protecting us from anything that might eat us, the best lunches of all time (even though they were the same everyday), your amazing accents (ya ya), putting up with all our “energy”, and generally making sure everyone had a wicked good time in a safe manner at Lapalala.
The people were what made Lapalala as special as it was, so thanks to everyone (guides, leaders and volunteers) for bringing your A-Game toSouth Africa. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with you all, and my life will certainly never be the same as a result of the time I spent with you.
Lots of gratitude is required for a trip such as this I think, so might as well keep it rolling. Thanks to everyone at home, family and friends, who helped make my trip possible with your generous donations. I sincerely appreciate the support, and you can rest easy knowing that your investment was a good one. The perspective I gained on this trip can be gained no other way than by going on such a trip. Many thanks
One last thing for us insiders, favourite quotes/references from the trip:
- “They still stop for deer!?”
- All forms of grunting, and the insane amount of communication that relied upon it
- “Sweet Caroline, buh buh buh”
- “Come to Africa they say, have a good time they say”
- “I don’t want no tick, a tick is bug that can’t get no blood from me, hangin on the back of Mike’s leg, makin him sick, trying to get on my knee”
- “Do the robot”
Can’t remember anything else, help me out team?
I still can’t believe how quickly our trip went, anyone wanna head back?
Ok, that’s all for now, the rest of the trip will require another blog post or 2.
It’s funny how quickly plans can change.
I often think about that scene from The Dark Knight where The Joker is explaining “schemers” to Harvey when he’s lying on the hospital bed with half his face torn off. He says that no one panics when things go according to plan, no matter how horrifying the plan is. Interesting.
We are indeed creatures of habit and structure, and we certainly do like our plans. I like planning, I like it a lot. I had a plan for after graduation, and it fell threw. Meh. Now I’ve got a new plan, and it’s going to be awesome! I’m going traveling, then buying a condo, starting a business, and re-taking up martial arts. Cool. Life is good when we’re happy in the present and have a plan for the future, interesting.
I don’t know what the point of this post is, or if there even is one. I think the same thing could be said about life in general. So if there is no point to life, or to making plans, since all a plan is is a subjective view of how we would like things to go so that the world makes sense in our mind and we don’t go crazy…then what’s really important? What an important question to ask, no?
I’m going to South Africa for a month for 2 weeks of wildlife conservation volunteering and 2 weeks adventure tour with my good friend Rick in less than a week, and I’m hoping to gain some clarity on this question during this trip. It’s been a little over 3 years since my last long(ish) term travel adventure, and I’m stoked to hit the road again and re-connect with nature, life…a simple alternate reality where the time doesn’t matter and the general paradigm is a little bit closer to the original one humans had whenever and however we wound up on earth.
So peace out amigos, au revoir and farewell. I may update you via blog if I have internet access and am motivated to share. More than likely this will occur after I return, since I want to savor the isolation of travelling to such an amazing place.
Thanks to everyone who has followed my blog thus far, I’ve genuinely enjoyed writing it and apologize for the significant slow down in posts…the times have been a’changin for me. Rest assured ill take up an online presence again when I return.
Tonight, I got called out hard on my shit by someone I respect a lot. The truth is, I bullshit people all the time, and people call me a nice guy because of it. I bullshit my friends, family, co-workers, and customers. I do this by being agreeable and easy-going…by being a “people person”.
Not that I should be rude to people, but by agreeing to do something I don’t really want to do, nodding along when someone says something I secretly disagree with, laugh at a joke I don’t find funny, or embellish/misrepresent something I or others do in order to sound smarter, funnier, or more capable, I’m not being authentic, and it will come back to bite me.
Very rarely does anyone have the cojones to call me on my shit, but this person did, and it hurt. I was absolutely stunned, sounding like an idiot, and afterwards felt this aching of guilt, embarrassment, and that distinct feeling of not being enough in my stomach and chest. It’s fascinating how feelings manifest themselves physically.
Unable to sleep, I decided to meditate (literally just now), which is how I identified what the feelings were. I am extremely grateful to have had this person call my shit, because I made two very critical observations about being brutally honest and calling people on their shit.
1. I need people to call my shit.
As a result of this experience and the negative feelings, I meditated, and then decided that I choose not to feel guilty, embarrassed, and like I’m not enough, so that’s how I’m going to be. I’m going to learn from my mistakes, and make the extremely difficult vow to be brutally honest and authentic to the best of my ability everyday.
I would not have had this realization without this experience.
Turns out being Authentic is harder than it looks. Anyone want to volunteer for the role(s) of calling my shit?
2. I need to call other people’s shit.
By not calling other people’s shit, I let them get away with behaviors that are damaging to both themselves and others.
Some people don’t take it well, but everyone should welcome constructive criticism with open arms. Some take everything personally, and let any honest critical statement get to them, and it tears them apart. They blame the person making the statement and the world, even though they know there’s truth to it and they could learn something from it.
The truth is that not telling a guy that he can’t get girls because he showers once a week does the guy no good. It’s very difficult for people to have to the awareness to recognize negative behaviors in themselves, which is why it is their friends’ duty to inform them in as kind a way as possible.
Just as it damaging to the person performing the behavior, they can often be hurting others in the process. Think of “that guy” who makes stupid, rude, or ignorant jokes all the time, and people just laugh along rather than telling him they aren’t funny, and he should find a better way to seek attention. Not only is “that guy” hurting himself socially, he could also be seriously insulting others without even knowing it.
Here’s my new challenge, and I need help with it friends. I’m going to give my honest opinion in every situation. I will do what I need to do to be happy, healthy, and successful, regardless of what others say. I will contemplate the meaning of authenticity daily, and ask myself if I am being authentic. I will call others on their shit, and welcome with open arms others calling me on mine.
I sincerely believe that it is in my best interest to have people call me out whenever I am weak, indecisive, unauthentic, or misrepresenting myself or others in any way. If you care about me, please do me a favor and help me out with this…I can take it, I promise.
Also, I will swear only when it’s necessary.